Psy 313. Lecture december 3, 2012
Trait stability: Evidence is fairly sparse, there is enough however to assume that is it quite stable.
With older old however there hasn't been a lot of cognitive testing- may not have been going through
healthy ageing. Might not be changes in personality because of normal ageing but because of
5 personality trait model has been one of the most influential.
McAdam's life story model this gets into identity more. Interested in idea of a narrative. Beginning of
life story, middle- leading up tp stability of career, family etc. Many people anticipate an ending. If at
young end of old age they are often planning what to do this depends on health and economic stability.
Features of story> narrative tone, images, themes, ideological setting (ideal outcome), different main
episodes, characters (friends, family etc), ending.
As people go through adulthood different experiences alter their life stories this is done consciously as
well as unconsciously (e.g stereotypes). Eventually life story is coherent and credible. You need to be
flexible, open to possibilities. This will be influences by our sociocultural experience.
Whitbourne's Identity theory: building different conceptions about how your life and the life of others
should be according to what happened in the past and the present to build the future. He calls it a life
span construct. With different experiences identity is going to change. You will modify how you think
When exposed to different information and experiences it will alter how life construct turns out-
assimilation adds concepts and accommodation may change it.
Whitboutne's theory has 2 parts a scenario (includes future expectations, this depends on what is
normal for your age and on your cohort) and a life story.
Self-concept: another way of thinking about identity (experience, knowledge, self worth etc). Mortimer
and colleagues longitudinal study> self concept influences how you interpret everything that happens
Kegen and Mortimer- not in exam.
Possible selves: thinking about what is possible for you in future time what you are likely to become,
what you will become, what you may be scared of becoming etc.
Compare ideas of past and present and what is ideal and what is not. Older adults are less critical than
young adults about past, maybe it is because perspective acquired by experience. Older peoples regrets
also seem less material and self-centred, it seems to revolve around relationships.
Middle age and older adults report that personal issues are more important- cf physical aspects of their
Young and middle aged adults that see themselves as able to improve on the future. Easy to imagine
you will do it better in the future. Older adults seem more realistic however some do consider
themselves able to do lots of things.
Ryff- identified six aspects of psychological well being:
• Self acceptance
• Positive relationship with others
• Environmental mastery • purpose in life
• personal growth
Religiosity and spiritual support- social support and sense of belonging may improve health. Emotional
and spiritual support also help mental and physical health. Older adults are more likely to be part of
these groups and they often use their beliefs and faith to cope with life. This could also be because they
feel like it is the end of their life. More recent cohorts seem less likely t